What to Write - What to Write!

by Irwin Lengel

Every now and then I run into what some of us ‘wannabe’ writers call writer's block.

I have come to believe that it is caused by laziness or how shall I put this – well, I am going to come right out and say it “Not quite in the mood” but I say that in a good way. It isn’t that I am not in the mood but more of a “cannot get my creative juices flowing” type mood.

That being said, I decided to look back at former posts from some years ago and decided to embellish upon one of them to share with you. Being honest with you – I am doing this for two reasons:

(1) to live up to my promise that I post on this site once a week and

(2) to provide those of you that follow my antics, something to read and hopefully chuckle about.

So, allow me so share some comical entries I wrote some years ago for a different blog and hope that if any of you have seen it or read it in the past that you will get just as much of a kick out of it on the second go-around.

Here goes:

Did you ever wonder why there are no handles on Chinese teacups? Well, for those of you that may know of a Chinese philosopher named Confucius – it is said that, Confucius say, “If tea too hot to handle, tea too hot to drink!”

And then there is the true story about a woman who wrote a best-selling auto-biography back in 1973 entitled “Laughing All the Way.” The author’s name was Barbara Howar. Fact is that shortly after writing “Laughing All the Way”, she picked up quite an advance from a publisher for her new novel, “Making Ends Meet”. Talk about the irony of the situation as I am sure that Ms. Howar laughed all the way to the bank on that deal and did in fact, make ends meet!

Did anyone ever research how the word “hooker” came to be a synonym for prostitute? Well here is the scoop – supposedly it came from a Union general, “Fighting Joe” Hooker who, after the Civil War, went to the wilds of Arizona to fight the Apaches. To get his troops to fight the Indians, he recruited a small army of prostitutes. They became known as “Hooker’s girls” – later shortened to just plain “hookers.”

Ever wonder what happened to that little bellhop who became famous paging “Call for Phillip Morris”? Well, as of July of last year, Dale Paullin, age 90, was living in Marshalltown, Iowa and is still known as a life-long learner. To hear all that he has done would tire most people. Suffice it to say that one does not have to be big to be a big person. My hat goes off to Dale Paullin who after being interviewed a year ago ended the conversation by saying: “Weeeee! I’ve had too much fun.”

Here is one for everyone to think about: Ever wonder where Ian Fleming conceived the character of “James Bond”? In reality, James Bond, the energetic and ever alert fictional spy, was “born” on Ian Fleming’s estate at Oracabessa (Golden Eye was the name given to the estate by Ian Fleming) on Jamaica’s north coast where the author wrote all of his “007” escapades.

Okay, one more piece of information that those of you as old as I am or perhaps even older may remember: How many of you out there can remember the greats that had monikers/nicknames most of us came to know them as? Monikers such as: “Marlegs,” “The Voice,” “The Velvet Frog,” “The Pelvis,” “The Galloping Ghost,” “Bojangles,” and “The Mouth”? Mentioning them from left to right we have: Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Elvis Presley, football great Red Grange, and Bill Robinson. Martha Raye and Joe E. Brown shared the affectionate billing “The Mouth.”

Here is a piece of information I never knew until I did the research on it. Remember the sayings: “Get a Bad Break” and “Behind the Eight Ball.” For those of you that know your pool history – you are correct – we get both these expressions from the game of pool. We all were probably taught at some point in our lives that misfortune is synonymous with “getting a bad break,” while being put in an uncomfortable position means being “behind the eight ball.”

Let’s break this explanation down a bit further – picture yourself about to begin a game of pool. To begin, the balls are arranged in the form of a triangle at one end of the table. At the other end is what is known as the cue ball. The opening shot is known as the break shot and is sent towards the triangle of balls. If the break shot puts the pocket balls in positions where they can be pocketed easily by the next player, it is called – you guessed it – “a bad break.”

Stay with me here –in a common variation of pool, the balls are numbered and must be pocketed in numerical order, with the exception of the eight ball which must be pocketed last. If it is sunken prematurely, the player is penalized. That is why it’s bad luck to be “behind the eight ball”; it obstructs a player’s progress in pocketing the other balls in rotation.

Hope everyone enjoyed this particular article as we sort of reminisced a bit and learned about various idioms (short, colorful phrases that convey powerful meanings) even though I would venture to say that many of us using them do not even realize that they don’t make any sense if taken literally.

Until next time!

Comments for What to Write - What to Write!

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What to Write
by: Christine/Maryland

Irwin, I tried to respond to you before - hope you get this one.

I wanted to say that you always never fail to make me laugh, and also provoke my thinking at the same time. Great article.

Now let's hope you get to see this. :)

Response to Irwin
by: Christine/Maryland

Irwin, you never fail to make me chuckle, and also to think at the same time. Great article! :)

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